Environmental Justice Advocate Beverly Wright to Deliver Annual Davis Lecture at Williams College

Media contact: Noelle Lemoine, executive assistant; tele: 413-597-4277; email: [email protected]

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass., October 16, 2018—Beverly Wright—environmental justice advocate, author, and Dillard University professor of sociology—will deliver the annual Davis Lecture at Williams College. Her lecture, titled “Environmental Justice and Equity in the Face of Climate Change,” will be held on Thursday, Oct. 25, at 7 p.m., in Paresky Auditorium. This event is free and open to the public. This event will be live-streamed at https://www.nsnsports.net/colleges/williams-college/.

Wright’s lecture will explore how the activism of people of color and people from low-income communities and their struggle for justice and equal protection under the law shaped the environmental justice movement. Beginning with an analysis of the origins of the equal justice movement, Wright will discuss how unequal protection of human health regulations failed to protect people of color from pollutants like industrial factory waste.

It was this struggle against unequal protection under the law that Wright argues changed the culture of an agency, shifted a research paradigm with the creation of a new approach and methodology that embraced community involvement, motivated the development of citizen science as a credible discipline, and produced science that was more protective of these communities. In her lecture, she will review this eventual transformation of the environmental justice movement and analyze its continued impact on marginalized communities.

About the speaker

Beverly Wright currently serves as founder of the Deep South Center for Environmental Justice (DSCEJ) at Dillard University in New Orleans. The organization addresses environmental and health inequities along the Mississippi River Chemical Corridor by partnering with local communities to provide education, training, and job placement for underserved populations. Most recently, she has worked with the DSCEJ Center to coordinate action helping the communities affected by the BP Deep Water Horizon oil spill. Wright also serves as co-chair of the Sustainable Energy and Environmental Taskforce for New Orleans Mayor Mitchell Landrieu’s transition team. In addition, she contributes to numerous advocacy groups, including the Environmental Justice Climate Change Initiative, the Commission Delegation to the U.N. Conference on Climate Change, and the African American Women of Purpose and Power in New Orleans. Wright is the author of multiple books and articles, including her most recent work, The Wrong Complexion for Protection: How the Government Response Endangers African American Communities. She holds a B.A. in sociology from Grambling State University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from State University of New York at Buffalo.

About the Davis Lecture

This event is hosted by the Davis Center as the annual Davis Lecture in commemoration of the remarkable work of W. Allison Davis ’24 and John A. Davis ’33, two distinguished scholars who made significant contributions to equal rights and opportunity in the United States and for whom the center is named. The Davis Lecture is delivered each year by scholar whose work concentrates on some aspect of race, class, or education in the United States.


For building locations on the Williams campus, please consult the map outside the driveway entrance to the Security Office located in Hopkins Hall on Main Street (Rte. 2), next to the Thompson Memorial Chapel, or call the Office of Communications 413-597-4277. The map can also be found on the web at www.williams.edu/map